Exercise will NOT make microscopic colitis worse.

So don’t use microscopic colitis as an excuse to avoid working out at a gym, even if you’re having diarrhea 20 times a day.

“Generally speaking, exercise is good for the body,” begins Jeffrey Fine, MD, chief of gastroenterology at the Medical Surgical Clinic of Irving.

“It can improve specific conditions, such as microscopic colitis, and your general health.”

If urgency is a problem, then you should try to configure your workout routine close to the gym’s restroom, whenever possible.

Dr. Fine’s Recommendations for Exercising with Microscopic Colitis

  • Consider yoga. Yoga exercises can aid in the digestion process. Certain yoga poses may help people with microscopic colitis or other gastrointestinal (GI) conditions.
  • A few poses I recommend include flowing bridge pose, Marichi’s pose and revolved triangle pose (below). If you aren’t sure how to get started, there are many websites, books and classes that may help you learn about yoga.

  • Establish a regular routine. This will get you in the habit of exercising, so you are more likely to stick with it.
  • Stretch before and after you exercise to relieve muscle tension and reduce injury.
  • If you have microscopic colitis or any other GI condition, pay extra attention to muscle groups that are associated with and/or located near the GI tract. Kegel and pelvic floor exercises are particularly good for this.
  • Start off with something basic that you can build on. If you’re not sure where to begin or how much is too much, talk with your doctor about your health goals, family history, and conditions like microscopic colitis, heart disease or asthma.
  • Ask your doctor for recommendations on an exercise routine that’s tailored for your specific needs.
  • Try exercising with a friend. It makes exercising more fun, and the other person can help keep you accountable.
  • Include core strengthening and cardiovascular exercises. Cardiovascular exercise is particularly good for reducing excess weight, which is hard on the joints and linked to diabetes, heart disease and many GI conditions.

Dr. Fine has been in practice for over 30 years and specializes in digestive health, integrative medicine and food sensitivities.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 
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